Hockey announcer becomes emergency linesman after nasty accident, concussion

Greg Wyshynski

It’s Stephen White’s job to call the action as a hockey announcer for ATC Productions, which covers the Australian Ice Hockey League.

Little did he know he would be calling it in a dramatically different way when an on-ice official was accidentally injured.

In the first period of a game between the Newcastle North Stars and Melbourne Ice on Sunday, linesman Casper Russelhuber was crunched by two players, receiving an accidental spin-kick from Chris Frank of the Ice that lacerated his index finger.

Along with the sliced digit, he suffered a mild concussion. You can see the injury at the 53-second mark here:

The game needed a replacement official.

They found one in the commentary booth.

According to The Age, White had experience as a referee in lower levels of hockey. He also had his gear with him, as he was due to play in a “reserves match” after the game. Alas, he didn’t have an officials’ uniform that fit, so he “borrowed” one from a half-conscious linesman.

Yes, they stripped a concussed man of his clothes and gave it to a hockey announcer. Such is life in the AIHL.

From the Age:

The result wasn't a snug fit for White, who says he looked like something out of "South Central LA" in the bigger man's outfit.

ATC boss James Morgan said the commentary crew was highly amused by White's “baggy pant” look, and hoped he would trip over his pants whilst on screen.

White said the players were also amused by his promotion, - “it's all on you to get in there”, chided Ice star Matt Armstrong - but they remained supportive. White says he made one or two errors, but was satisfied overall with his performance. But that was after an "adrenalin dump" when he first stepped on to the ice.

“I suddenly got out there and realised 'oh [crap] there's 2000 people here, I'm on TV. this is my first AIHL game ever and the home team is down 2-0!'”

The North Stars defeated the Ice, 2-0. White had this to say after the game:

Went from @aihl commentator to linesman in the same game yesterday, madness! Thanks @themelbourneice @newnorthstars for kudos #twojobsinone

— Stephen White (@StephenWhite83) May 19, 2013

White is a national commentator for Fox Sports Australia’s coverage of the AIHL, so this is a bit like Doc Emrick putting on the zebra stripes. But could you imagine this happening on a local level in the NHL, given our sport’s proud legacy of homer announcers?

Could Jack Edwards call an icing on the Bruins? Would Sidney Crosby ever be offside if Paul Steigerwald had the whistle? Would Chico Resch officiate the game while double-fisting Premio Sausage sandwiches?

s/t Reddit